Ampaire Taps Tamarack Winglets For Three Alternative-Energy Programs


Alternative-energy aircraft developer Ampaire has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Tamarack Aerospace Group “to develop further aerodynamic upgrades for Ampaire’s family of hybrid electric aircraft.” Plans call for Tamarack to adapt its “Smartwing” active winglet technology to Ampaire’s alternative energy variants of the Cessna 208 Caravan, Twin Otter and Beechcraft King Air aircraft. Tamarack active winglet systems are now installed on more than 170 Cessna CitationJets, with climb-gradient and fuel-consumption/range improvements of up to 10 percent, according to Tamarack. The technology also “smooths flight, and improves the ability to take off and land on shorter runways regardless of high/hot conditions and payload,” said Tamarack.

Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker said, “Tamarack’s technology is a great match with Ampaire’s hybrid propulsion system, as both work synergistically to upgrade the performance and economics of the proven aircraft.” Tamarack’s Founder and CEO Nick Guida added, “Tamarack’s Performance Smartwing technology has demonstrated substantial aerodynamic improvements on multiple platforms including … upgraded CitationJets, and our goal aligns closely with Ampaire’s to make every aircraft more efficient and sustainable.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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    • Great point.
      That would be a better first step than the “Jim Bede school of marketing” claims of up to 10% for a wingtip change.

    • My guess is because wheel pants/fairings aren’t great for unimproved/grass strips, which is what the Caravan is good at. Same reason why retractable gear wouldn’t be desirable. At least the winglets are up high on the wings, so less susceptible to damage from gravel/etc.

  1. From an engineering standpoint simple is lighter than complex…if induced drag is the target, complexity (weight) is the enemy…if parasitic (form) drag is the target, then complexity is the tradeoff for retractable gear/flaps. Putting active wingtips on a bolted gear plane implies lipstick on a pig.

    For all the folks who feel the need to label this view “luddite”, pardon my skepticism, but after a few decades of wading through “visionary engineering” proposals, my patience is worn by those who ignore physics, the encountered environment and embrace needless complexity without thought to the entire system (read maint) lifecycle.

    I’ll give tech demonstrations a pass, but the rush to widely field unproven concepts is going to bite the industry when something easily forecast takes out a planeload of pax.

  2. I’d imagine if the winglets made a significant difference Cessna would have included them, or their own version, with the standard airplane.

    I’d also imagine if aerodynamic efficiency is the goal, a Caravan is a poor place to start.

    One of my favorite airplanes but not amenable to aerodynamic tweaking.